Wildlife and Parks to Conduct CWD Testing

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In recent years, there has been considerable concern nationwide about chronic wasting disease (CWD) in deer and elk. The Kansas Department of Wildlife and Parks (KDWP) has tested about 2,400 animals since 1996, but CWD has not been found in wild deer in this state. KDWP plans call for testing 3,000 animals from the 2003 season.

"Our department is committed to monitoring the health of the Kansas deer herd, and to managing the herd to minimize the chance of CWD developing here." says Keith Sexson, assistant secretary of Operations for KDWP. "To accomplish the task of collecting a sample of 3,000 animals, it is imperative that we have as much hunter involvement as possible. If CWD shows up, it is important that we be able to identify problem sites. Hunters can help tremendously by providing the heads of their deer, as well as the hunter's name and the location where the animal was taken."

To ensure the long-term health of the deer herd, most hunters would like to help in this process. To assist, hunters can deliver the heads of their deer to one of approximately 120 CWD collection sites across Kansas. The head must be removed with a short section of the neck attached. If hunters wish to keep the deer's antlers, they may be cut off with the skullcap.

Barrels will be placed at the collection sites by opening day of the regular firearms deer season (Dec. 3) and will be maintained until the end of the regular firearms seasons (Dec. 14), or until adequate numbers of samples have been acquired. Instructions for tagging the heads will be provided at each barrel. Hunters will be notified if their deer tests positive although it may take several months before lab results are available. The tests will be performed at no cost to the hunters.

Hunters should be aware that meat processing plants do not accept deer heads unless the hunters plan to have the plant process their deer. In addition, not all meat processors accept deer or participate in this program.

To find the nearest CWD collection site, phone KDWP at (620) 672-5911 or any local KDWP office, or email feedbacks@wp.state.ks.us.